Nova Scotia

NewPage closing threatens other jobs, tax base

The looming closure of the NewPage mill in Port Hawkesbury is threatening other jobs and a county's tax base.

The looming closure of the NewPage mill in Port Hawkesbury is threatening other jobs and a county's tax base.

NewPage is planning to close the mill indefinitely in September, ending 1,000 jobs.

Brent MacInnis, who operates MacInnis Lumber in Frenchvale, is concerned about his employees. Already they're talking about moving west, he said.

"All of my employees, whether they are mechanics or whether they are operators, can turn their hand pretty quick to be adaptable out there on different machinery," he said.

MacInnis employs between 25 and 60 people throught the year.

John Boudreau, the warden of Richmond County, said the uncertainty at NewPage puts a big chunk of the county's tax base at risk. Taxes from the mill represent about 35 per cent of the county's entire annual budget.  

About 250 county residents work at the mill, but hundreds more rely on spinoff jobs in the woods and in local businesses. 

Boudreau said he remains optimistic that the mill will reopen.

Premier Darrell Dexter will be in Port Hawkesbury Wednesday to meet with union leaders at the mill, and Cape Breton-Canso Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner.

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